Tuesday, November 22, 2011

And Canada Too

Yesterday I blogged about the UK's NHS recommendations from breast cancer screening. Well, today Canada's health insurance is the topic. They now recommend for women of normal risk that they get a mammogram every two or three years from age 50 to 74. According to their thinking there is no benefit for women from 40-49 to have mammograms because it doesn't save enough lives and causes unnecessary false positives, biopsies, and even surgeries. A woman of normal risk is one with:
  • No previous breast cancer.
  • No history of breast cancer in a first-degree relative such as a mother or sister.
  • No known mutations in the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes.
  • No previous exposure to radiation of the chest wall.
Well, hellooooo!!! Knock, knock! WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU THINKING?  If I followed these guidelines I probably wouldn't be here. I had none of the risk factors listed and still ended up with breast cancer at 46. Where is the thought that there isn't a cure yet? So if you miss it for a few years, you may have killed off your patient?

In reply: ""Since one in six women who die from breast cancer are diagnosed in their 40s, we simply cannot afford to see missed opportunities for earlier detection," said Sandra Palmaro, CEO of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation."

In addition:
Martin Yaffe, a professor in the departments of medical biophysics and medical imaging at the University of Toronto, called the recommendations "scientifically unsupportable."

"If followed, they will result in over 2,000 breast cancer related deaths that could be avoided by screening in Canadian women over 10 years," Yaffe said in an email.

Yaffe said the task force ignored scientific data from studies using modern technology that point to a 25 per cent to 30 per cent reduction in mortality through screening.

Women invariably say they're willing to tolerate the stress of having to come in for more imaging tests in exchange for a better chance of not waiting until a cancer is at advanced stage before it is found, added Yaffe, who is also a senior scientist in imaging research at Toronto's Sunnybrook Research Institute. 

I hate this stuff. This is worse than insurance companies making medical decisions. This is the government making medical decisions.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Leslie Montgomery, MD weighs in on "Mammography appears unlikely to save a woman's life" from hemonctoday.com. Thought it might interest you:

http://www.hemonctoday.com/article.aspx?rid=88821